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Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, is probably one of the most famous Asian tourist destinations out there.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose track of yourself in Bangkok, which is why we have decided to provide you with 20 tips on how to survive your first day in Bangkok.
- Get your bearings
Make no mistake about it, Bangkok is a large city, full of windy and often times confusing roads. Make sure to grab a map at the airport, along with a transportation guide so that you can make your way around town safely and efficiently.
- Stop, relax, stretch
Stop for a moment, take a deep breath, relax and stretch your limbs. Chances are you just stepped off of a rather long flight and could use the stretching.
- Exchange currency
It goes without saying that you will need to exchange your money in order to be able to use it in Thailand, however make sure to do so outside the airport. The exchange rates and commissions are much more advantageous and affordable that way.
- Stock up on bottled water
Although you might find yourself a bit tempted by vendors in the street to grab a glass of ice water or juice, it is highly recommended that you do not. The tap water in Bangkok may not be the cleanest, so it is recommended that you only drink bottled water.
One thing to note here is that the climate in Thailand is tropical and very hot, so you will have to drink a lot of water. Make sure you have at least 2 bottles of water with you at all times.
- Find a place to stay
Sleeping on the streets in Thailand is a very bad idea. Chances are you will need a place to stay for the night, and there are a lot of hotels in Bangkok that you can choose from.
The Sawasdee Hotel is often the best choice because of it’s low prices and general availability, especially if you are looking for last minute accommodations.
- Street food is not dangerous
It might look dangerous, and you might be tempted to back away from it at first, however the truth is that street food is not at all dangerous in Bangkok.
You can enjoy a bit of cheap exotic food on the go and not have to worry about any medical complications as a result of it.
You can find these vendors in heavily crowded areas, and you can generally get some great food from them really cheap, however make sure not to go too wild with it.
- Beware of scammers
As with every single tourist destination in the world, Bangkok has its fair share of scammers.
Remember that there are no secret marketplaces where you can get cheap precious gems or designer clothes, be alert and do not get scammed by overly cheap deals.
- Find some organized tours
This is by far the safest, scam-free way of getting around the land in Bangkok. Make sure that the tours that you are opting for are organized by qualified and licensed officials, as well as fully credited by the Thai Government.
- The skytrain and underground are a blessing
Getting around Bangkok can be a massive problem, especially for tourists who are there for the first time.
With that in mind, instead of trying to go for a taxi, a tuk-tuk or a bus, you can ride the Bangkok Skytrain. It’s similar to your average underground train or subway, Except that it runs above ground, usually on an elevated platform above the street, giving you a great view as well as a relaxing ride.
You can also catch the Bangkok underground, which is pretty much the same thing, only beneath the busy and crowded streets.
- Photocopy your ID immediately
A very important thing to remember about Thai Police is that they are very strict and thorough when it comes to identifying people. As a result of that, you will need to carry some form of ID on you at all times.
In order to make sure that you will not lose your passport or have it stolen from you, you can photocopy it and have that copy with you at all times while the original is stored away safe in your hotel room.
- Don’t miss the Yok Yor Dinner Cruise
This is a relaxing and pleasant dinner cruise that you can catch off the dock at a local Yok Yor restaurant.
- Be careful with taxis
In Thailand, taxi drivers often try and take advantage of tourists by refusing to turn on their meters and instead trying to negotiate a much higher flat fee.
If you want to grab a taxi in Bangkok, make sure that you insist that the driver turns on the meter before you get into the car.
If the driver refuses, simply go for another taxi that can be found all around the place.
- Relax at a cat cafe
A café is usually relaxing enough, but Bangkok decided to take it one step further.
If you like cats and a nice relaxing cup of coffee, you will enjoy the various cat cafes that you can visit in order to get the best of both worlds.
Cats run freely in these establishments, and it often insisted that you leave your shoes at the door and wash your hands often in order to keep the cats healthy and happy.
- Catch a Muay Thai match at the Rajadamnern Stadium
Why go to Thailand and not catch a glimpse of the spectacle that is their national fighting style?
Simply go to the stadium in Bangkok, by a ticket and enjoy the fight.
The fight schedules are listed at the stadium, as well as on their website.
- Take a walk through Lumpini Park
Lumpini Park has often been described as being an oasis of relaxation in the middle of a frantic and chaotic city.
This is true, and if you find yourself overwhelmed by Bangkok at any given point, you can simply walk it off and plan your route to Lumpini park.
- Visit the Thai National Museum
While in Bangkok, get a feel of the Thai culture by visiting the national museum.
The only time it is officially closed is during a government holiday or during a royal celebration, so chances are that you will be able to visit it unhindered. Do expect a line though.
- Meet some of the locals
This is something that you should always do when visiting a new place, meet some of the locals.
People are usually friendly, and will often be open to conversation. However, most people are not that skilled and versed in the English language, so expect a few communication obstacles along the way.
- Learn a couple of things in Thai
English is not the primary language in Thailand, nor is it that well known among most people.
In fact, the people that are the most versed in English are usually the scammers because they have to deal with so many tourists on a daily basis.
Learning a few simple and basic things in Thai could prove immensely helpful, especially because most people are actually willing to teach you things a few seconds after meeting them for the very first time.
- Relax with a Traditional Thai Massage
By far one of the most famous massages in the world, the Thai Massage is a must try in Bangkok.
There is an actual academy which specializes in teaching students how to give this massage properly, to fully benefit the body and induce a state of relaxation.
If you feel stressed out, or if you’ve had a long day, feel free to get one of these massages. It will definitely be worth your while.
- Learn Thai Social behavior
While most Thais are understanding of tourists and are generally accepting of the fact that they are not fully aware of their social customs, it is still easy to accidentally offend them in some manner.
Learning the proper Thai social behavior is something that you should consider doing, especially if you plan on having a lot of interactions with the locals.